Peachtree Stable's Lynx, a maiden winner in Pennsylvania, returns to his Canadian roots for Tuesday's $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes, at Fort Erie Racetrack.
The 79th edition of the Prince of Wales for Canadian-foaled three-year-olds will be televised live on TSN from 7: 00 – 8:00 pm ET.
Trained by Cathal Lynch, a native of Derry, Northern Ireland, Lynx first broke from the gate at Woodbine under the tutelage of Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield. The bay son of Curlin-Silver Bird made six starts for Attfield with his best result coming on the dirt at Gulfstream Park in February when third in a maiden allowance route.
Transferred to Lynch's care to continue his sophomore campaign, Lynx stepped forward in a big way when taking a Parx maiden allowance by three lengths over Sassicaia, an expensive Chad Brown trainee, notching an impressive 84 Beyer Speed Figure.
Adding to the intrigue of that May 25 maiden win is the fact that Lynch and Lynx combined to stop an incredible run of victories by trainer Chad Brown who currently sports a record of 12 wins from 13 tries at the Pennsylvania track.
“There was a short price favourite in there for Chad Brown that he'd paid $1.6M for (at the Fasig-Tipton Florida 2013 Selected Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale) and looked like a nice horse,” recalled Lynch of the maiden bout. “Lynx sat just off of him and at the three-eighths pole he kicked clear of the rest of the field.”
Lynx, bred in Ontario by Jim McAlpine and Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC, has taken a little time to come good, but the son of 2007 and 2008 Horse of the Year Curlin appears to be an improving sort.
“He's a big, strapping horse,” said Lynch. “He's a decent dirt horse and he's improving. Curlin's tend to improve as they get older, he's going the right way so we thought we'd take a shot up there against the Canadian-breds.”
On June 15, in his second start for Lynch, Lynx finished third in the Grade 3 Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park won in a quick time by Albano.
“That day they went ridiculously fast on the lead and stayed there,” said Lynch. “That track can get real quick at Monmouth and he went an even third. Running back in three weeks probably wasn't his cup of tea, but I think the mile and three-sixteenths (at Fort Erie) will be right up his alley.”
On July 13, Lynx posted a sharp four furlong breeze at Parx in :47.40, best of 26 efforts at the distance on the day suggesting the bay gelding came out of the Pegasus in good order.
“He had a rabbit out there and came and got him,” said Lynch of the work. “He just got stronger and stronger. He's a big, growthy type and he's developing into a nice horse.”
Frank Pennington will travel to Fort Erie for the mount in Tuesday's lucrative Prince of Wales as both jockey and trainer make their Canadian debuts. Lynch is hopeful of a stalking trip for Lynx on the gelding's return to his native province.
“I don't know that he'd go wire to wire,” said Lynch. “He's still a little green for as many starts as he's had. I don't think we've had the best out of him yet. He'll be laying relatively close, he's a stalker type. If somebody wants the lead we'll gladly give it to them. It's a decent stretch there.”
Lynch will put Lynx through his final preparations at Parx before shipping north to Canada.
“He'll have a blowout here on Friday morning and ship early Saturday to Fort Erie and settle in. He'll jog Monday and then run Tuesday,” said Lynch
Joining the Triple Crown trail for Tuesday's Prince of Wales is East Side, a bay son of English Channel-Russian Sweetiepie, bred in Ontario by Richard Lister.
Justin Stein, who was aboard for the gelding's maiden score on June 13, will retain the mount.
Stein became the third different jockey to ride East Side, following Patrick Husbands and Gary Boulanger's efforts in maiden allowance sprints, but made the mount count as the bay successfully tried two turns for the first time on June 13.
“He was just sitting off the early fractions,” recalled Stein. “They went a :23 first quarter and he was right there for the half-mile and kept going. He ran a perfect race.”
Unfortunately, the victory didn't translate into a Queen's Plate try for East Side though trainer Mark Casse did end up saddling the winning filly Lexie Lou.
While his stablemate earned the accolades in the Plate, East Side has replied with back-to-back bullet works on Woodbine's dirt training track most recently covering five furlongs in 1:01 flat on July 16.
Stein, who finished sixth in the 2006 edition of the Prince of Wales with Ascot Bill, has ridden a number of times at the border oval and will be well prepared for the differences from racing at Woodbine.
“One thing that's different for us riders is that Fort Erie has a very long stretch,” said Stein. “You won't want to make a move in the turn like you do here because the quarter pole is at the head of the lane instead of in the turn. A little patience is needed.”
East Side, with a record of 1-1-0 from three starts, will make his stakes debut in the Prince of Wales where he will be joined by stablemate Matador who will be guided by Queen's Plate winning rider Patrick Husbands.
Additional riding assignments are coming together as the Prince of Wales draws near.
Jesse Campbell, who guided Coltimus Prime to a ninth-place run in the Queen's Plate, has taken the call on Mike Keogh's improving maiden Ascot Martin.
Gerry Olguin will take over from Campbell on recent allowance winner Money Talks.
The expected race favourite, Ami's Holiday, will be piloted by regular rider Luis Contreras.
Davy Moran, who guided Lions Bay to a sixth-place finish in the Plate, retains the mount on the Jamie Attard trainee.
At a distance of 1 3/16-miles, the Prince of Wales is the only race in the Canadian Triple Crown Series that is run on a traditional dirt surface. The Queen's Plate, a 1 1/4-mile 'Poly' test is the first jewel of the Triple Crown which is completed by the Breeders' Stakes, a 1 1/2-mile endurance test over Woodbine's E.P. Taylor Turf Course, to be held on Sunday, August 17.
The draw for the Prince of Wales will take place on Friday, July 25th in the Fort Erie Race Office at 1pm. The Prince of Wales will be run on Tuesday, July 29th. First race post time is scheduled for 4:15. The Prince of Wales will be televised on TSN from 7pm to 8pm EDT with the Prince of Wales scheduled for 7:40 pm.
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